Liverpool’s Newfound Metronome: Wataru Endo’s Rise to Prominence
Liverpool’s recent resurgence to the top of the Premier League table has been nothing short of spectacular, and a significant part of this success can be attributed to the influence of Wataru Endo. Jurgen Klopp’s bear hug with Endo, as narrated by The Daily Telegraph, encapsulates the midfielder’s importance to the team. His critical intervention during the injury-time against Burnley, which led to Diogo Jota’s goal, underscores his pivotal role. Klopp’s praise, “My god what a game he played,” speaks volumes of Endo’s impact on the team.
Endo Versus the Premier League’s Physicality
Despite initial doubts about his ability to handle the Premier League’s physicality, Endo has more than proved his mettle. His fearless approach, exemplified by his contest against Dara O’Shea, showed a disregard for personal safety that embodies the spirit of the league. His subtle yet effective style of play, blending neatness with slickness, has been a revelation. His performance against Arsenal drew favorable comparisons with Declan Rice, highlighting his value as a £16 million summer signing.
The Tactical Nuances of Endo’s Play
Endo’s role as a midfielder is distinct from the modern No 6 archetype. Unlike dominant possession-demanding players like Rice or Rodri, Endo operates more passively. He is not the conductor but the metronome of the team. His movement off the ball, creating space and covering for Trent Alexander-Arnold, is fundamental to Liverpool’s gameplay. While his contributions may not always lead to goals, they are crucial in maintaining the team’s rhythm.
The Klopp-Endo Trust Paradigm
Klopp’s trust in Endo is evident in his consistent selection, despite the frantic pace and volume of modern football. The fact that Endo is the only outfield player to start every game in a packed 13-day schedule speaks to his indispensability. Klopp’s decision to bring in Endo, despite being an unconventional choice given his age, highlights his unique value to the team. This reliance, however, poses a challenge with Endo’s upcoming absence due to the Asian Cup, as Klopp admits, “We will miss him.”
Looking Ahead: Liverpool Without Endo
As Liverpool prepares for the absence of Endo, Klopp faces the challenge of adapting the team’s strategy. The Asian Cup in Qatar means Liverpool will be without their midfield linchpin for a significant period. Klopp’s acknowledgment of Endo’s importance, coupled with his confidence in finding alternative strategies, sets up an intriguing phase for Liverpool in the upcoming games.
Wataru Endo’s journey from a somewhat overlooked summer signing to becoming an integral part of Liverpool’s midfield is a testament to both his skill and Klopp’s vision. His influence extends beyond the flashy goals or assists; it’s about the subtle control and rhythm he brings to the game. As Liverpool navigates through the challenges ahead, Endo’s absence will be felt, but it also presents an opportunity for the team to showcase its depth and adaptability.